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DARPA's Headless Robotic Mule Takes Load Off Warfighters

machinelou Project Pelican (210 comments)

Sounds like a very expensive donkey/mule replacement. Why not just use real animals?

I completely agree. In WWII, american scientists trained pigeons to steer bombs toward targets. One or more pigeons would actually be placed in a bomb and peck on a clear disc that would actuate the bombs fins. Training was fairly straight forward and their accuracy was better than anything else available at the time, including radar (although radar was still fairly new). The project was ultimately disbanded because the military wasn't interested.

about a year and a half ago

If Tech Is So Important, Why Are IT Wages Flat?

machinelou Supply and Demand (660 comments)

If the unemployment rate is above historical rates for Tech jobs, that would suggest there are more workers than jobs to fill. Even if demand for tech workers is high (you suggest it's high by calling it 'so important'), wages should be flat if the supply of workers is meeting that demand. It also makes sense given the availability of substitutes (i.e., out sourcing).

about 2 years ago

Over 1000 Volunteers For 'Suicide' Mission To Mars

machinelou Ridiculous Title (453 comments)

Newsflash: Rest of Earth's population chooses 'suicide' mission at home.

about 2 years ago

One In Five Macs Holds Malware — For Windows

machinelou Re:Infected? (285 comments)

Actually, she was forcibly quarantined twice. The first time was because she was spreading it without her knowledge. After at least a year, she agreed not to work as a cook and they let her go. A few years later, there was an outbreak of Typhoid in a hospital and when investigators arrived, they found Mary working in the kitchen. This time they forcibly quarantined her because she knowingly put others at risk. At the same time, there were a number of individuals in the New York area who were also showed no outward symptoms but were nonetheless infecting others. These individuals were not similarly incarcerated. Hence, in retrospect, incarcerating Typhoid Mary was more 'security theatre' than anything else. It was a visible but largely ineffective solution to a bigger problem.

more than 2 years ago

Graphene Creates Electricity When Struck By Light

machinelou Wireless Power (132 comments)

Perhaps this could be used on the receiving side of a "wireless" power system for spacecraft. A ship could have graphene panels pointed toward Earth where lasers, microwaves, or other forms of transmitted energy could provide power.

more than 2 years ago

Judge Rules Boss's "Firing Contest" Created a Hostile Work Environment

machinelou Turn the Game Around (314 comments)

He probably could have just turned the game around and been fine. So, secret shoppers could tell him when they catch an employee being "good" (defined as not doing any of those things) and he puts their name in a drawing. At the end of the week/month/quarter, employees who have consistently been "good" will have more opportunities to win the drawing equal to the cash prize of $10/week.

more than 2 years ago

Google Docs' OCR Quality Tested

machinelou Google's OCR (99 comments)

I've played around with Google's OCR framework (tesseract) and it is far from perfect. So, this isn't really a surprise.

more than 3 years ago

Race Pits Pigeons Against Poor UK Rural Broadband

machinelou Re:Dependent on the conditions of the race (298 comments)

If you change the conditions of the race, you can just as well make it say just about anything.

If you give the pigeon a 512 KB message, and an identical 512 KB message to be sent via a rural broadband connection, then the rural broadband connection will win. If you give the pigeon a 64 GB memory card, then you could say that the pigeon has a transfer speed equivalent to 104 mbps, which'll mean it's faster than most broad connections, rural or not. (Assuming an average speed of 60 miles per hour for the bird.)

You're totally on the mark, but you could take the limitation you mention and turn it into a better test. For example, instead of just asking, "what is the latency to transmit a 200MB file across 84 miles?" You could ask, "What is the relationship between message size and latency for pigeons and copper wire (or, whatever they're using) over 84 miles?" This latter test would involve transmitting files of several different sizes.

I'm betting that, at some point, the curve for pigeons will either asymptote or turn over (e.g., when the mass of 32GB microSD cards begins to exceed the flight capacity of the bird).

about 4 years ago

Software (and Appropriate Input Device) For a Toddler?

machinelou Re:Keep children under 3 from all tv (417 comments)

Numerous studies indicate that is is best to keep children under 3 away from all tv's, including dvd's, normal tv programming, movies, video games,etc... and to limit video exposure only increasing allowed hours per day gradually as the child gets older.

No tv under 2, limit to under 2 hours for 3 year No tv under 2

That's not research, that is extrapolation and interpretation (there's actually an important difference).

about 4 years ago

Software (and Appropriate Input Device) For a Toddler?

machinelou Touch Screen (417 comments)

A touch screen is probably your best bet -- a good option would be a back-illuminated multi-touch setup so you can use thick acrylic or glass (unlikely to be broken or damaged by your toddler). If you want to go even younger, research with infants often make use to two that can be readily measures by machines: eye-gaze and suckling (on a pacifier with a sensor). Short of putting together some kind of home-brew eye-tracker, I'd suggesting hacking a pressure sensor into a pacifier. Even with that, I bet you could easily train different patterns of suckling (e.g., one pattern produces skips to the next song on the playlist, another pattern skips to the next artist).

about 4 years ago

Linux Distribution Popularity Trends Plotted

machinelou Re:Not very accurate measurement IMHO (209 comments)

The data might reflect something like "public interest." Any gentoo user knows that to find information related to gentoo, they should go to or #gentoo or the gentoo-wiki. Similar parallels can probably be drawn for debian and ubuntu. So, the data probably do not reflect the number of people using those distros but people seeking more information about them who probably not already users.

about 4 years ago

Project Honey Pot Traps Billionth Spam

machinelou Maybe (118 comments)

Maybe now with a billion samples, we can start training people how to recognize it.

more than 4 years ago

Best PC DVR Software, For Any Platform?

machinelou Re:For viewing? LG BD390 (536 comments)

So, basically it's a PS3 without the games and support for codecs that were published after 1992? Sweet!

more than 4 years ago

Scientists Create Artificial Meat

machinelou Where's the line? (820 comments)

Honestly, I don't get PITA's position. It's no longer part of an animal because...? Maybe because it doesn't have nerve cells that fire given "painful" stimulation? What if it does? Who's going to care about the poor little piece of meat that has to exercise all day long and experience the burn of its own lactic acid until some fat 'Merican orders it super-sized? Or maybe it's not part of an animal because there's no "brain" for the signals to reach? If that's the case, we should genetically construct brainless cows and have them running off arduinos instead. Does someone have a script for chewing I can download? But, surely someone would protest that. If only those who prefer PIC over ATMEL.

more than 4 years ago

Trapped Girls Call For Help On Facebook

machinelou Actually... (380 comments)

Actually, my wife was stuck in an elevator once and while her cellphone couldn't maintain a signal well enough to call out, she could text and email.

about 5 years ago

The New VA Health Plan Is Second Life

machinelou Re:I'm not sure about this. (54 comments)

I have a Ph.D. in psychology and I can tell you that the notion of "escaping from reality" is a concept borrowed more from pop-psychology than science. The fact of the matter is, these people need exposure to cues that trigger traumatic memories in a context that is safe, supervised, and controlled. Talking about roadside bombs is an important first step but far less immersive (and less effective) for later parts of therapy than being part of an animated scene where patients get to re-experience a convoy-support mission.

about 5 years ago

The New VA Health Plan Is Second Life

machinelou Why use Linden Labs? (54 comments)

I've been following a lot of similar stories recently and I don't understand why agencies and institutions wouldn't build on an opensource infrastructure that they can control (e.g., something like openlife). What happens if Linden labs goes belly-up?

about 5 years ago

Why Don't MMOs Allow Easier Transportation?

machinelou Re:As the great Bartle said (337 comments)

Lots of research with animals and humans analyzing choice has found that changing from one option to another (e.g., the decision to move from one game zone to another) is controlled by the relative rate of reinforcement for those choices AND the effort required to change from one choice to the other. For example, studies have manipulated the physical distance between two keys in an operant chamber and found that as the distance increases, animals tend to respond more exclusively on the key with the higher-rate of reinforcement. As the cost or effort to change decreases, choice becomes less sensitive to differences in the rate of reinforcement among the alternatives. Instead of manipulating physical distance, experimenters have also required subjects to respond on a change-over key. Increases in the response-requirement on the change-over key produce effects similar to increasing physical distance. So, increasing the effort to move from one zone to another likely produces real changes in how players distribute their time in those zones. Good game designers probably distribute the best in-game rewards as an increasing function of the difficulty to obtain those rewards. It's probably also similar to having NPCs of varying difficulty. So, the question could have been, why don't MMOs just equip players with the best stuff when they first start?

more than 5 years ago



Computer Forensics: Solid-State Sorage

machinelou machinelou writes  |  more than 7 years ago

machinelou (1119861) writes "How will computer forensics and traditional magnetic-media recovery techniques need to change in order to deal with the increased use of solid-state storage devices?"


machinelou has no journal entries.

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